21 November 2020
A) Nefarious plot defeated in Jammu and Kashmir: PM Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 November has said that the security forces had defeated a nefarious plot to target grassroots-level democratic exercises in Jammu and Kashmir by killing four terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad. The four terrorists, who recently infiltrated from Pakistan, were killed and two policemen injured in a gunfight at the Ban Toll Plaza near Nagrota on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway on Thursday. The four had huge amount of ammunition and explosive materials on them, he said. The Prime Minister held a detailed review of the Nagrota encounter on Friday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla and top intelligence officials were present in the meeting. A senior government official claimed that the Pakistan-based terrorists were planning something big on the anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks on November 26. In a tweet after the meeting, Modi said that neutralizing of 4 terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed and the presence of large cache of weapons and explosives with them indicate that their efforts to wreak major havoc and destruction have once again been thwarted.
B) Siddique Kappan wanted to create ‘caste divide’, U.P. govt tells SC.
The Uttar Pradesh government on 20 November has denied illegally confining Malayalam journalist Siddique Kappan and did not object to a lawyer meeting him in jail, but accused him of using the garb of journalism to create a caste divide in Hathras, where a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped by four upper-caste men recently. Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that Kappan was arrested and remanded by a competent court. His bail plea was heard for nine days. His bail was rejected after nine days of hearing, they should approach the High Court. He is in judicial custody in pursuance of a valid judicial order passed by a court, Mehta submitted. He was responding to a petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) for the immediate release of Kappan. The union has said Kappan is its secretary. He, according to the KUWJ, was illegally detained while on his way to Hathras in October 5. An 82-page affidavit filed by the senior superintendent of the Mathura District Jail, where Kappan is lodged, said he was the office secretary of the Popular Front of India (PFI). The identity card he had shown was of a Kerala-based newspaper, Tejas, which was closed in 2018. It is revealed during the investigation that he, along with other PFI activists and their student wing leaders were going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb law and order, the affidavit said. The court gave the KUWJ time to study the affidavit. It scheduled a hearing next week.
C) Sonia Gandhi shifts to Goa on medical advice.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the afternoon of 20 November has moved to Goa following a medical advice to avoid smog and avoid air pollution in Delhi. Accompanied by her son and former Congress chief, Rahul Gandhi, Ms. Gandhi, 73, is likely to be in Goa till the air quality in Delhi improved, a Congress functionary said. The Congress president has been advised by doctors to shift out of Delhi to a place with cleaner air. The polluted air in Delhi has taken a toll on her health and has aggravated her asthma and chest condition, which has not shown much improvement despite medication, said the functionary. Ms. Gandhi’s decision to move out of Delhi comes amid internal rumblings over the party’s performance in Bihar as well as crucial bypolls across several States.
D) Attorney General okays fresh contempt action against Kunal Kamra.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on 20 November has consented to contempt action against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for his grossly vulgar and obnoxious tweet with a photograph of two fingers meant to deliberately insult the Chief Justice of India. Venugopal said the tweet tended to lower the authority of the Supreme Court and undermined public confidence in it. The tweet was uploaded on November 18. The depiction of the two fingers, with the legend that he means the middle one, is to deliberately insult the Chief Justice of India, which would equally be an insult to the Supreme Court of India, which the Chief Justice heads, Venugopal reasoned. The consent letter under the Contempt of Court Act of 19750 was in reply to a complaint made by advocate Anuj Singh, a lawyer from Uttar Pradesh. This is the second consent given by Venugopal for contempt action against Kamra in November. The earlier consent was regarding Kamra’s tweets on the decision of the Supreme Court to grant interim bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. Kamra has refused to apologise for, or retract, his tweets. Instead, he tweeted that he wished to volunteer the time that may be allotted for hearing his contempt case to others who have not been as lucky and privileged as he is to jump the queue.
E) Ashok Gehlot slams BJP’s love jihad laws.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on 20 November has slammed the BJP over the love jihad controversy, saying it was a term manufactured by the party to divide the nation and disturb communal harmony. With several BJP-ruled states going ahead with moves to bring in legislation on the issue, Gehlot said marriage was a matter of personal liberty and bringing a law to curb it would be completely unconstitutional. The BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have announced plans to enact a restrictive law. The senior Congress leader said in a series of tweets that such a legislation would not stand in any court of law and jihad had no place in love. He said BJP leaders were creating an environment in the country where consenting adults would be at the mercy of the state. Marriage is a personal decision and they are putting curbs on it, which is like snatching away personal liberty, Gehlot said. He said bringing a law on love jihad seemed to be a ploy to disrupt communal harmony, fuel social conflict, and disregard constitutional provisions that mandate that the state cannot discriminate against citizens on the basis of religion.
F) Covid watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of coronavirus cases reported from India stood at 90,37,541 with the death toll at 1,32,597. In the wake of rising Covid-19 cases after the Diwali festivities, the Gujarat government on Friday announced that night curfew, from 9 pm to 7 am, will be imposed in Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat everyday. The decision comes a day after Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) announced a weekend curfew in Ahmedabad city, from Friday night till Monday morning, during which only milk and medical shops would be allowed to remain open. Amid fears of a second wave, the Madhya Pradesh government has also announced that it will impose night curfew, from 10 pm to 6 am, in five cities : Bhopal, Indore, Ratlam, Vidisham and Gwalior.
A) Tigray fires rocket into neighboring region.
Rebel forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region fired rockets on 20 November at the distant capital of the neighbouring Amhara region, Amhara authorities said, raising worries the conflict could spill into a wider war. In the north, Ethiopian troops took the towns of Axum and Adwa, a government statement said. Two weeks into the conflict, the United Nations said it was making plans for as many as refugees fleeing into neighbouring Sudan, and made an urgent appeal for $200 million to assist them. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have been killed and tens of thousands of refugees have fled from fighting in Tigray, raising questions of whether Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed can hold his ethnically diverse nation together. The illegal TPLF group have launched a rocket attack around 1:40 a.m. in Bahir Dar, Amhara government’s communications office said. The rockets caused no damage, it said.
B) Debutant Douglas Stuart wins 2020 Booker Prize.
Scottish author Douglas Stuart on Thursday was awarded the 2020 Booker Prize for his acclaimed debut novel Shuggie Bain, set in his home city of Glasgow. He always wanted to be a writer so this is fulfilling a dream, said Mr. Stuart, whose novel about a working-class family in the 1980s was inspired by his own childhood. Like the other finalists, the 44-year-old writer, who now lives in New York, was watching the socially distanced ceremony via video link due to the anti-virus lockdown in place in Britain. Mr. Stuart’s book reflects his own experiences growing up with a mother who was an alcoholic and died from her addiction. He described the book as a love story looking at the kind of unconditional, often-tested love that children can have for flawed parents. In an emotional speech, the 44-year-old, who now lives in New York, said: My mother would be thrilled, she would be absolutely thrilled and I think she would be proud. He said that he had carried a lot of love and pain and writing the book was incredibly healing for me. He also paid tribute to his native city, saying that growing up in Glasgow he think is one of the greatest inspirations of his life. Mr. Stuart was one of four debut novelists among the six finalists.
C) Sanders, Warren may be left out of top posts
Biden warned against freezing out progressives as he shapes his government Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, leaders of the Democratic Part’s left wing, are at risk of being excluded from the senior ranks Of president-elect Joe Biden’s ad. ministration as the incoming President balances the de mands Of his parties progressive base against the political realities Of a narrowly divided Senate.
The liberal New England Senators remain interested in sewing in Mr. Biden’s Cabinet, but even sorne of their allies recognise they major political hurdles getting there. Sensing disappointment, progressive leaders have reluctantly begun to express support for less-controversial alternatives.
Ms. Warren, whose political career has been defined by efforts to diminish the power of big banks, is the progressive movement•s top choice for Treasury secretary. Mr. Sanders, a self-described demen•ratic socialist. reiterated his desire to serve as Mr. Biden’s Labor secretary on Thursday, describing himself as particularly suited “to focus on the many crises facing working families in this country.”
Whether he is included in Mr. Biden’s Cabinet or not. Mr. Sanders warned Mr. Bito freeze out gressives as he shapes his vernment. “It seems to me clear that progressive Views need to be within a Biden administration.- Mr. Sanders said. -It would be… enormously insulting if Biden put together a ‘team of rivals- and thereX sonæ discussion that that i what he intends to which might include Republicans and conservative democrats — but which ignored the progressive community. I think that very, very unfortunate.”
In a nod to the left wing, Mr. Biden’s transition team has hired Analilia Mejia, a Sanders adviser Who served as his presidential came paigns political director, to work on progressive reach. It’s unl*ely, however, that mid-level hires will be enough to satisfy progressives